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Robert Greenwald Exposes the War on Whistleblowers and the Rise of Our National Security State

A new film directed by Robert Greenwald looks at four whistleblowers who had their lives practically destroyed after they went to the press with evidence of government wrongdoing.

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AMY GOODMAN: That was Jay Carney, the White House press spokesperson, answering Jake Tapper’s question, ABC reporter. Let’s talk about the sacrifices that the film shows, considerable sacrifices whistleblowers made to tell the truth. They suffered job loss, endless litigation, heavy emotional and psychological toll. The film ends with where they are today. The film—some of the people we hadn’t talked about: Thomas Drake, who was a National Security Agency whistleblower, and Thomas Tamm, worked in the Justice Department and blew the whistle—the film—this clip begins with Franz Gayl, who blew the whistle on the Pentagon, then Thomas Drake, Michael DeKort and Thomas Tamm.

FRANZ GAYL: I’m now working back at the Pentagon in the office from which I was removed. Today, I feel great. You know, it could be so much worse. And I feel very lucky, because I’ve received a lot of support from a lot of outsiders that I don’t think every person in my situation gets.

THOMAS DRAKE: Where am I now? You know, I work full-time at an Apple Store in the greater D.C. area. I’ve gone back to school. I’m about a year away from finishing up my Ph.D. in public policy and administration, specializing in leadership and management.

MICHAEL DEKORT: Well, I mean, it went from me living in an amazing place. I was in northern  Colorado Springs, and I had a great career. And it was, again, 13 years, and my family liked being there. And then that all came to an end. So, we had to leave. And the first time we left, I actually had no job to go to, so we had to stay—we stayed with family. But I had to go to a completely different industry. So, employment has been—it’s been spotty, you know, here and there. I’m employed now, and I have a good job, and I’m back in Pittsburgh, where my wife’s family is from, so that’s fine.

THOMAS TAMM: After the raid, I just kind of figured that I was too controversial maybe to hire for a lot of different reasons and a lot of different positions, so I just opened an office on my own to do criminal defense litigation. But, you know, the business didn’t come—didn’t come screaming through the door. So, you know, from this point forward, I’d like to try and become actually more active on—and talk out maybe on college campuses or use this movie, really, to tell people what I did and why I did it.

AMY GOODMAN: That last voice, Thomas Tamm, who blew the whistle on government surveillance of Americans. Robert Greenwald, where everyone ends up? I mean, Drake ends up at an Apple Store in the Washington, D.C., area, one of the smartest guys at the NSA, as one of the people in your film said.

ROBERT GREENWALD: Yes. They’ve all paid, you know, a terrible personal price, and they’ve really done it for the purest of reasons. It’s about  democracy. It’s about facing something in their work, in their lives, and saying, "I can’t accept this." And how many of us would stand up? How many of us would give up so much in order for—to fight for principles that they believe in?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’d like to go to this clip from the film where whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg talks about the risks taken by  Army Private Bradley Manning. Manning was responsible for the largest leak of state secrets in U.S. history.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Only the person who reveals the criminal activity who is prosecuted for it. And I would say I identify very strongly with Bradley Manning, because, first of all, he was doing this because he felt crimes were being committed, horrible things. He said, "I am prepared to go to  prison for life, or even be executed." So, once again, it’s the messenger.

 
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